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Christmas + Frescoball (together they fight crime!)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays all! These past 12 months have been a rough year for far too many, but 2020 is almost in our rear view! Let's all try to enjoy the holiday season more than ever this year, and to borrow a phrase from Bill & Ted, "Be Excellent to each other!"


Next, quick shout out to Melissa, Enola, and Kelly who emailed in, noting "Facilitator System", "Buckinghamshire Indiana", and "Calculate Scale" respectively. I'm assuming that these are just one word Subject/Message emails being generated by bots, but who knows - I like to think that maybe the Universe is trying to send me messages via these unsolicited emails. Or heck, Melissa, Enola, Kelly, Thurman, and Celia - if you're real, keep 'em coming! They're so random, how can I not like them?


In the spirit of the holidays and being excellent to each other, I will share that a while back I read an article online about the importance of “team fit” and the whole being greater than its parts, and it made me think of our jam sessions:


"Frescoball is a collaborative sport: two players stand with paddles 15-30 feet apart and try to bat a ball back and forth as many times as possible without it hitting the ground. Dean and Mike proposed a way to classify players that was simple and easily understood, but still managed to capture the idea of fit. They looked at two attributes: athleticism and consistency. Athletic players are good at returning a ball hit outside their sweet spot to the other player’s sweet spot. Consistent players are good at returning a ball hit in their sweet spot to the other player’s sweet spot.


They then randomly assigned these abilities to players, randomly paired them up, and simulated seasons of frescoball play. What they found surprised them. A dominant team emerged, a team that put up incredible numbers, but didn’t have the prototypically athletic frescoball players.


This team was so adept because it combined two unbelievably consistent players. They would just hit the ball back and forth from sweet spot to sweet spot, and their athletic limitations were never exposed. But think about that for a second: if these two players were separated, they would be fairly pedestrian. They wouldn’t be able to do much with balls hit outside their sweet spot, and their teams would not perform particularly well. It was only in the combination of the players that this greatness emerged. It was simulated gestalt.”


This rang true for me because I know that I am certainly not a great bass player by any means, but in the end, jamming is a "collaborative sport". I am not funky until I hear one of my jam-mates trying something neat, new, or funky, and vice versa. We play off of each other and, to mash up the quote above a bit... "think about that for a second: if these...players were separated, they would be fairly pedestrian. They wouldn’t be able to do much with balls hit outside their sweet spot, and their teams would not perform particularly well. It was only in the combination of the players that this greatness emerged. It was simulated gestalt.”


Some feedback from my fellow jam-folk:


Nice article. That’s so true... when you get musicians together that just click and can lock on to each other, you get the magic

...and...


When you least expect it. Expect it. Greatness comes from what seems improbable!! We all hear and feel music a little differently, so when we come together and give the best of ourselves with our own unique fingerprint on the music, the magic happens! I love jammin with you guys! 🎶🎶🎶


So be good, be safe, jam in your sweet spot (but don't be afraid to take some risks), play some Frescoball, look for "simulated gestalt", and finally - Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!


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